Well it’s good to be back after a month’s break. As you’ll see the website has had a bit of a refresh. You will be noticing the difference most if you’re reading this on a mobile device. Hopefully the changes will make your reading experience more enjoyable. Please leave a comment if you spot a problem and I’ll try and make any corrections necessary.
Before I fully get back into analysis and comment, I’ll share this article on faith, worship and a stirring to action that I originally wrote for Christianity Magazine’s planned new expanded website, which is still yet to go live.
When people find out that I run a blog called God and Politics in the UK, other than wanting to know what it’s all about, the question I’m asked the most is what inspired me to start it. I usually reply by talking about my longstanding interest in politics and current affairs and that I tend to have an opinion on most things. Having thought about it a bit more over time, the real answer is quite simple. It all comes down to worship.
Spending time in God’s presence pouring myself out to Him is just about the most wonderful and amazing thing that I can do. It can be an incredibly powerful experience whether I’m worshipping God on my own or with several thousand others. Coming before my Heavenly Father no matter how I’m feeling or what state my life is in and offering up a sacrifice of praise makes me come alive. It’s what I was born to do. Over the years I’ve learnt a lot about what true worship is and isn’t. If we think the aim of worshipping God is to come away feeling warm and fuzzy then we’re completely missing the point. Worship always puts God first and us second. That means giving Him glory and honour even if we’re not in the mood for it, but also we should expect to be challenged and changed as we seek God’s heart.
As I’ve grown as a Christian I’ve found it more and more common during my times of worship that my heart and mind are stirred to put my faith into practice beyond the confines of a church environment. If you delve into the Bible you’ll see that God isn’t remotely interested in our worship if it’s self-indulgent and not backed up by action. He expects our worship to be lived out daily. Look at Isaiah 1:17 or Micah 6:8 for example and you’ll find that worship is just as much about seeking justice and defending the vulnerable and oppressed as it is about anything we might do in a church service.
We see this form of worship being acted out every day in this country by thousands of Christians through work with prisoners and victims of crime, the homeless, those in debt or with illness. And that’s just for starters. What this worship looks like is going to be different for each of us according to our abilities and situation along with whatever God may have specifically lain upon our hearts. Two years ago I felt God calling me to start grappling with the whole area of how Christians should engage effectively with politics and the culture of our society. Once that seed had been planted during my times of worship it kept coming back to again and again to the point where I had to do something. Starting to blog on the relationship between faith and politics was the way I felt best able to achieve what God was asking of me.
Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams said in an interview last year that, “I think… we have, as people of faith, to encourage our own folk to be a bit more willing to go into politics, and get their hands dirty.” For me blogging has become an outworking of worship as I seek to serve God by being a visible Christian presence on the internet. I have no idea how much I’ll achieve through what I’m doing, but that’s one of the joys of living by faith. We do what we believe God has asked of us and leave the rest up to Him.
Worship is an incredible thing. We start by giving the glory to God and He in turn uses that worship to change us and then through us to change the world. If we want to genuinely worship God, we need to make sure it consumes our lives and goes well beyond a short time in church every Sunday.
What form does that life of worship take for you?